Food

The World of Crackers Has Lost a Giant

Rest in power.

A man grieving on the ground at a cemetery next to a Stoned Wheat Thins tombstone.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by TailsUpOutdoors/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

The Cracker Internet is suffering a great loss: the mysterious disappearance of Stoned Wheat Thins. Most useful as a vehicle for cheese (as most Most Useful things are), Stoned Wheat Thins have been a pantry staple for as long as I can remember. Unlike Wheat Thins—the salty-sweet, deeply toasted square snack often eaten in handfuls—in nearly every single way, Stoned Wheat Thins are paler, with a subtle mottling of toasted beige and a sprinkling of salt, and a perforation down the middle so that you can snap them in half. Their relative blandness makes them perfect for toppings, the ideal slightly elevated choice for everyday appetizer platters that aren’t quite fancy enough to merit the name “charcuterie.” Now these workhorses, which have doubled as the excuse for generations of dads (and the occasional Reddit memelord) to make generations of dad jokes about marijuana, are being discontinued, and cracker fanatics are taking the news pretty harshly.

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The end of Stoned Wheat Thins has been theorized about for a while by fans who noticed the increasing shortage of the cracker before it was eventually confirmed by Nabisco and grocery store distributors via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (The cracker was produced by Red Oval Farms, which is a brand name of Mondelēz International Inc., which itself is a rebranding of Kraft Foods’ “global snacking business.” Nabisco is a subsidiary of Mondelēz. Mondelēz International did not reply to my many requests for comment.) Three months ago, on the r/sanfrancisco subreddit, a user with the handle Academiabrat inquired about the lack of Stoned Wheat Thins in the Bay Area: “Call me crazy, but among our many shortages, there seems to be a Stoned Wheat Thins shortage, at least in the East Bay! Dire, dire, they’re the only crackers I like.” Academiabrat was not the only one who saw this as a momentous issue. User Deserveyourneed said, “They were absolutely the best cracker in the world. I have tried so many others, none compare. It is so sad.” Some made jokes about the name, like Anxman, who suggested: “Try mixing regular wheat thins and thc.” Pretty-Agency-8171 got biblical: “It’s the final ‘shoe’ dropping and leading to the ‘end of the world’ for me. My only cracker for 50 years!!! Do I have enough time left on this planet to find a suitable substitute?” But the most relatable response is from Drug_Ninja:

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Screenshot from Reddit, user shouting "NOOOOOO"
Screenshot from Reddit
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It’s unclear when the discontinuation began. Amazon customer comments document the increasing rarity of the crackers in the reviews section of a Stoned Wheat Thins Amazon listing. (The product is now marked as “currently unavailable.”) As early as April 2022, customers were mentioning that they couldn’t find the crackers in local stores, with more and more reviews starting to mention a lack of Stoned Wheat Thins as the months progressed. The first rumor of discontinuation was posted by Brenda Wakelee on Aug. 24 of last year. Then, plenty of users began commenting that Stoned Wheat Thins were impossible to find and only accessible through third-party sellers at a markup. Julia, who commented on Aug. 28, 2022, wrote: “I might try another seller, but it seems like the price has increased tremendously—$25 for one or two boxes, rather than the four I’ve gotten before. Might be looking at the end of an era.” The bereft response really ramped up in October, when customers mentioned that “these are by far and away the best snack cracker” and “there IS NO COMPARABLE.”

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The confirmation of Stoned Wheat Thins’ discontinuation seemed to trickle out, the answer only being offered to diligent fans who thought to ask. On Nov. 11, Twitter user @Inzion_ asked the official Nabisco Twitter account directly where the crackers had gone. Nabisco responded: “They’ve recently been delisted. We apologize for any disappointment and will let the team know you asked about them.” Grief overcame many a cracker disciple—Stoned Wheat Thins fans were bereft, crying and throwing up, and sighing in devastation.

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The reasoning behind the discontinuation is unclear. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided possible explanations to all of those mourning their salty fave, ranging from “sluggish sales” to a more comforting, though unlikely, theory that the loss might be temporary: “At the height of the pandemic, companies concentrated on core items that sold well, and they stopped producing products or specific flavors that didn’t. Some of these are slowly coming back to stores.” Many early mourners speculated that the discontinuation was related to a 2021 class-action lawsuit in which a plaintiff accused Mondelēz of “deceptive and misleading advertising,” an argument hinging on how easy it is to assume the product is made with “stone-ground flour,” which some might take as code for “healthier.” (For what it’s worth, a colleague admitted, upon hearing of this lawsuit, that her family consistently called the crackers “stone-ground wheat thins,” but added that they were under no illusions about their nutritional benefits.) However, the putative class action was dismissed on March 30, 2022, so it seems not quite correct to say that our beloved Stoned Wheat Thins were sued out of existence.

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What to do now, if you have people coming over and want to shell out a medium amount for a very medium cracker? There aren’t many great options. You can bid on some Stoned Wheat Thins on eBay for a whopping $2,500 to start. Or take your chances on one listing offering a dubious Canadian version of the crackers (made by Christie, a Canadian brand of Mondelēz) for $30.99. Others have attempted to find the best replica that they can. As the Journal-Constitution suggested, you can call your local grocery store and inquire about the last shipment—they could have some more in storage or would know more information. And we could also remain hopeful that Stoned Wheat Thins could rear their salty heads again. But, in the meantime, let’s crumble up some lesser crackers, put them in a cup, and pour one out for the one constant that has never disappointed us—until now.

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